Antiphased dust deposition and productivity in the Antarctic Zone over 1.5 million years

Michael E. Weber, Ian Bailey, Sidney R. Hemming, Yasmina M. Martos, Brendan T. Reilly, Thomas A. Ronge, Stefanie Brachfeld, Trevor Williams, Maureen Raymo, Simon T. Belt, Lukas Smik, Hendrik Vogel, Victoria L. Peck, Linda Armbrecht, Alix Cage, Fabricio G. Cardillo, Zhiheng Du, Gerson Fauth, Christopher J. Fogwill, Marga GarciaMarlo Garnsworthy, Anna Glüder, Michelle Guitard, Marcus Gutjahr, Iván Hernández-Almeida, Frida S. Hoem, Ji Hwan Hwang, Mutsumi Iizuka, Yuji Kato, Bridget Kenlee, Suzanne OConnell, Lara F. Pérez, Osamu Seki, Lee Stevens, Lisa Tauxe, Shubham Tripathi, Jonathan Warnock, Xufeng Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The Southern Ocean paleoceanography provides key insights into how iron fertilization and oceanic productivity developed through Pleistocene ice-ages and their role in influencing the carbon cycle. We report a high-resolution record of dust deposition and ocean productivity for the Antarctic Zone, close to the main dust source, Patagonia. Our deep-ocean records cover the last 1.5 Ma, thus doubling that from Antarctic ice-cores. We find a 5 to 15-fold increase in dust deposition during glacials and a 2 to 5-fold increase in biogenic silica deposition, reflecting higher ocean productivity during interglacials. This antiphasing persisted throughout the last 25 glacial cycles. Dust deposition became more pronounced across the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT) in the Southern Hemisphere, with an abrupt shift suggesting more severe glaciations since ~0.9 Ma. Productivity was intermediate pre-MPT, lowest during the MPT and highest since 0.4 Ma. Generally, glacials experienced extended sea-ice cover, reduced bottom-water export and Weddell Gyre dynamics, which helped lower atmospheric CO2 levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2044
Number of pages18
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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